Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I have met several well known meditation masters: Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw was my preceptor, I stayed with Taung Pulu Sayādaw for a week or two, I met Ajahn Chah and Sayādaw U Pandita a few times, among other well regarded teachers.
It is not unusual to hear claims by disciples that such and such a teacher is definitely an Arahant, but how do they know this? Do they themselves have the power of reading minds? At best, it is an intelligent guess based on a long and intimate association with a teacher, but even then it would be hard to know for sure.
Thank you for your thoughtful post.
I would not want to speculate on who has which attainments.
However, it does seem to me that the way many teachers teach and write would really make no sense if they had not gone through the insight stages that they describe. To pick on a couple of distinguished examples from your web site:
Mahasi Sayadaw, at the end of his Progress of Insight:http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Progress/progress.html
Practical Insight Meditationhttp://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Practic ... ml#Summary
Though in the beginning it was mentioned that this treatise has been written for those who have already obtained distinctive results in their practice, others may perhaps read it with advantage, too.
Now these are my concluding good wishes for the latter type of readers: Just as a very delicious, appetizing, tasty and nutritious meal can be appreciated fully only by one who has himself eaten it, and not without partaking of it, in the same way, the whole series of knowledges described here can be understood fully only by one who has himself seen it by direct experience, and not otherwise. So may all good people reach the stage of indubitable understanding of this whole series of knowledges! May they also strive to attain it!
It has been emphasised during this brief outline of the training that you must contemplate on each mental occurrence, good or bad; on each bodily movement large or small; on every sensation (bodily or mental feeling) pleasant or unpleasant; and so on. If, during the course of training, occasions arise when there is nothing special to contemplate upon, be fully occupied with attention to the rising and falling of the abdomen. When you have to attend to any kind of activity that necessitates walking, then, in complete awareness, each step should be briefly noted as walking, walking or left, right. But when you are taking a walking exercise, contemplate on each step in three sections; up, forward, down. The student who thus dedicates himself or herself to the training day and night, will be able in not too long a time, to develop concentration to the initial stage of the fourth degree of insight (knowledge of arising and passing away) and onward to higher stages of insight meditation (vipassanā-bhavana).
Sayadaw U Pandito, In This Very Lifehttp://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pan ... eader.html
It is my humble and sincere wish to help you discover for yourself the state of inner peace through the essays in this book, based on the Dhamma, or way of truth, taught by the Buddha and also following the tradition of the late Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw of Rangoon, Burma. I am trying my best, as far as my wisdom can take me, to provide this service to you.
The last and perhaps the most fulfilling aspect is that you may be able to tally your own experiences with what is written in this book. If your practice is deep, it can be a joyous and rapturous occasion when you realize that your experiences conform to the theory.
I offer you my personal best wishes and encouragement. May you reach liberation, the highest goal.
These, and other, passages are quite clearly stating that those teachers have seen many students make significant progress along these paths. It would seem rather illogical that they had not themselves experienced those insights.